South Coast, California, Alumnae Club

Charter date: 12/18/1944

The History of the South Coast, California, Alumnae Club

For 72 years, the South Coast Alumnae Club has been an active part in the community, philanthropically as well as socially. For many years, the club held monthly “Book Reviews” with guest speakers from Los Angeles. Members could invite family and friends to come along, and so Book Reviews became great fundraisers with lots great publicity in the Los Angeles Times and other local newspapers.

The club held annual Arrowcraft Sales at Sherman Library and Gardens and even won awards for top overall sales in Pi Beta Phi.

Traditions that the club enjoys are the annual “Yankee Swap” (a white elephant gift exchange), a holiday luncheon with angel ornament exchange, the club-wide holiday party with “Beaus or Not,” and an Academy Awards-themed party where members dress up in pajamas with fancy hair, make-up and jewelry. The club’s philanthropy efforts have expanded in the last decade to extend to reading to elementary school children at two local schools, collecting school supplies and new books for those schools, holding an annual Bowling for Literacy and Scholarship fundraiser, hosting a wonderful Fraternity Day of Service event at a local library around Dr. Seuss’® birthday and walking annually in the Susan G. Komen 5K Race for the Cure to fight breast cancer. Participants wear fuzzy white halos and have angel wings printed on the backs of the club’s team T-shirts. In recent years, the club has also added a “Caring Angels” group that offers support, meals, cards and thoughtful gift baskets for members going through difficult times.

The club continually welcomes new Pi Phi alumnae members of all ages and from all over the country to join the group. Social media and the club’s Beach Arrow newsletter are used to communicate regularly to the club’s alumnae. Seven interest groups are currently offered for members to choose from: Angel Fun Group, Book Club, Game Night Buddies, Daytimers, Happy Hour/Movie, Interest in Culture, and Fitness/Walking Group. Some of the club’s favorite events include yacht club luncheons, boat cruises, cooking classes, wine tasting, hikes, garden tours, happy hours, movie nights, museum excursions, holiday gatherings, Founders’ Day celebrations with local collegians and Pi Phi heritage programs.  

Club members, especially Fran Applegate, were extremely instrumental in the founding of the Greek Panhellenic System at the University of California, Irvine and the California Eta Chapter at UC Irvine. For decades, the club held annual end of summer “Summer Splash” parties at member Margaret Corkett’s home, near the Balboa Island Fun Zone. Her lovely home was situated on the bay side of the water, and the parties included swimming and boating in Newport Beach. Monthly “Book Reviews” were held for many years and were often reported in the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register newspapers.

Philanthropic Service

  • Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K walk for breast cancer - This was the club’s second annual walk in September 2016 in memory of Pi Phi sisters who have passed away from breast cancer and in honor of the club’s sisters who are survivors. The club’s team of 34 participants raised over $9,200.
  • Fraternity Day of Service at the Donald Dungan Library in Costa Mesa, California, where members read with kids and make silly hats and Dr. Seuss buttons
  • Bowling for Literacy and Scholarships, a fundraiser Arrowcraft sales for many years

Awards and Club Recognition

  • Club of Excellence
  • Club of Superior Performance
  • Emma Harper Turner Leadership Award (regional)
  • Evelyn Peters Kyle Angel Award (regional)
  • Excellence in Communications
  • Top Sales for Arrowcraft FDS500 recipient for College Park Elementary, one of the club’s two target elementary schools

Evelyn Peters Kyle Angel Award

  • Grayne Price (1983)

Notable Alumnae

  • Diane Bielman, Pi Beta Phi Grand Vice President of Alumnae
  • Trudi Rogers, Newport Beach Mayor and City Council Member
  • Anne McKnight, mother of Bob McKnight, Founder of Quiksilver (largest surf clothing company in the world)
  • Dr. Lamia Gabal, Chief of Staff of Urology at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange, California